Rabies vaccine is currently unavailable from the manufacturer and has resulted in a shortage of the vaccine at our travel clinic. The shortage is estimated to be resolved September 2024.


Date: May 23, 2024
Published by: Dr. John Lee

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Only Meningitis vaccine for Hajj??

Meningococcal Meningitis A, C, Y, W-135 vaccination is a strict requirement for pilgrimage to Hajj.

Visa requirements for travel to Hajj are strict and include possession of a non-refundable ticket, proof of the required immunizations and a cheque to cover the cost of accommodations.

Visa requirements can be found at  https://www.haj.gov.sa/Home

For most Canadian travelers their one and only focus will be acquiring the meningitis vaccine but there are other important considerations.

Hajj attracts upwards of 2+ million visitors from all of the world. Conditions are extremely crowded. Saudi Arabia despite its wealth is still considered a developing country. These factors lead to the easy transmission of various illnesses.

  • Meningitis: All Pilgrims to Hajj are required to provide proof of vaccination with quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine (A,C,Y,W-135) given no more than three years and not less than 10 days before arrival in Saudi Arabia.
  • Polio – All travelers coming from a polio endemic country (presently only Pakistan and Afghanistan) must show proof of vaccination via an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP)
  • Yellow Fever – All travelers coming from countries at risk for Yellow Fever transmission must show proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination. If you transit through a Yellow Fever country but do not leave the airport then a vaccination certificate is not necessary. Yellow Fever vaccination is now considered good for life but must be administered at least 10 days before arrival at the border.

In addition to the above vaccines required by the Saudi government, there are other vaccines that are strongly recommended for any pilgrim traveling to Hajj: Influenza, TdaP, MMR, Chickenpox, Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid.

  • TDaP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) – Pertussis is endemic world-wide and the very crowded conditions of Hajj allow for easy spread.
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) – Measles is on the rise world-wide.
  • Hepatitis A – The most common vaccine-preventable illness that travelers should be protected against. It is worldwide in distribution. The infection is spread by close contact with infected individuals or contact with contaminated food and water. The World Health Organization makes a rare blanket recommendation that “all non-immune travelers (should receive this vaccine) when traveling to countries or areas at risk” (i.e. developing countries).
  • Typhoid – Typhoid fever is a life-threatening infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. It is usually spread through contaminated food or water. 
  • Chickenpox – An illness caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It brings on an itchy rash with small, fluid-filled blisters. Chickenpox spreads very easily to people who haven’t had the disease or haven’t gotten the chickenpox vaccine. In developed countries, chickenpox immunity is high (>90%) but much lower in the developing world (~50%).

Hajj is a once in a lifetime pilgrimage and it is very important that you stay safe and healthy during your journey. Book a travel medicine consultation to ensure you have a safe and worry-free pilgrimage.

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